It is probably not a battle amongst members of the Huge 3 that so many have grown accustomed to over the course of the final decade, however it’s no much less of an attractive encounter that pits a member of the outdated guard in opposition to an aspiring participant from the subsequent era. Novak Djokovic, who has gained extra Australian Open titles than any man within the Open Period, will look to defend his crown in opposition to a recreation Daniil Medvedev to find out who will depart Melbourne because the 2021 Australian Open Champion.
Followers had higher settle in for the lengthy haul, as this has all of the substances to make for a protracted battle of attrition. Each of those males are extraordinarily tough to hit by way of, are pillars of consistency from the baseline, and every tends to get his racket on many returns. Briefly, there may be not a lot that separates Djokovic and Medvedev, as their respective ranks of Quantity 1 and Quantity 4 would counsel.
Djokovic is taken into account by many to be the very best returner within the historical past of tennis, so if at his greatest, he ought to get pleasure from an edge there. Because the damage scare within the third spherical in opposition to Taylor Fritz, the Serb has additionally been serving larger, significantly off the second supply. Offered he’s placing in a excessive proportion of serves, that would go a good distance in direction of serving to him acquire the early higher hand in rallies, which may show pivotal. It’s going to be crucial that he not fall into the entice of changing into passive and drift too far behind the baseline, because the fourth seed is somebody who can cling with him from there.
After all, lots of the similar issues could possibly be stated of Medvedev by way of what he must do if he desires to hoist his first main singles trophy. Towards the very best returner within the sport, he has to have a very good serving day if he desires to keep away from being on his again foot most of the time, even along with his spectacular courtroom protection. Moreover, he must make a concerted effort to remain up on that baseline. He is ready to flatten out his strokes, and assuming he stays up on the baseline, that ought to put him in prime place to bully the highest seed along with his extra penetrating groundstrokes.
As all the time although, execution of a recreation plan stems from with the ability to handle these nerves, particularly when the chips are down. It’s tempting to have a look at Djokovic because the one greatest geared up to ship beneath these circumstances, as he has an in depth monitor document of doing precisely that. He has already gained seventeen majors, eight of which have come proper right here in Melbourne, the place he has by no means misplaced within the closing. He leads Medvedev of their rivalry 4-3, together with an entertaining four-set encounter right here two years in the past, and taking him out in a best-of-five format is a special animal than taking him out in a best-of-three. Lastly, Djokovic has acknowledged fairly clearly that he has no intention of merely handing the reigns over to the subsequent era and can maybe discover additional motivation to make sure essentially the most prestigious titles in tennis stay firmly within the arms of the Huge 3.
Medvedev isn’t on the lookout for the reigns to be handed over, nonetheless, as he would like to wrestle them away. There may be ample motive to imagine he may achieve this, too. Though he trails in his rivalry with the Serb, he has gained three of their final 4 encounters. His most up-to-date victory got here only some months in the past in what was an emphatic win on the ATP World Tour Finals. Moreover, Medvedev has already had the expertise of taking part in in a significant closing, placing in an outstanding effort earlier than shedding to Rafael Nadal in 5 units two years in the past on the US Open. Between all of this and the best way he completed 2020 by profitable the ATP World Tour Finals, he’ll enter this closing figuring out that he has all he wants to interrupt by way of and win a maiden main singles crown.
Suffice it to say, this has all the trimmings of what may make for an entertaining and aggressive contest to find out the lads’s champion. There’s a actual sense with Medvedev that it’s only a matter of “when” not “if” he’ll win a significant, and there’s no motive it can’t be this Sunday. He has the talents. He has the idea, and maybe most significantly, he is aware of he has tasted success in opposition to the person who will likely be throughout the web from him. Even so, outdated habits die laborious, and it’s tough to guess in opposition to Djokovic in most any main closing, particularly at this venue. He has gained eight instances right here already, and he has by no means misplaced when reaching the ultimate in Melbourne. Medvedev undoubtedly will current a stiff problem, however the tip of the hat has to go to the highest seed to seize his eighteenth main singles title.
(photograph supply: Getty Pictures)